February 11, 2018
After last years cancellation due to snow, the weather gods smiled on the Pacific Road runners this year, and the athletes delivered in perfect conditions at this morning’s “First Half” Half Marathon, the third race in the BC Super Series.
Commonwealth Games bound Rachel Cliff had made it clear that her goal was to break Tina Connelly’s event record of 1:12:47 set in 2004. And she set about it from the gun, surrounded by a group of men, including husband Chris Winter. Through 10K in 33:54, Cliff remained comfortably ahead of pace around the Stanley Park seawall, and despite a couple of unplanned pit-stops, she broke the finish tape in 1:12:21 in sixth place overall, to earn a $1,500 record bonus in addition to $800 for the win.
Despite being some distance back in second place, Robyn Mildren broke her PB by over a minute in second place, clocking 1:16:47. Kate Gustafson completed the podium, ducking under 80 minutes to finish in 1:19:54. Brittany Therrien in her debut half marathon (1:21:08) and Briana Hungerford (1:21:29) rounded out the prize money positions.
The men’s race was closer, as 2013 and 2014 winner Rob Watson, and Jesse Hooton running his first half marathon, ran neck and neck for the first half of the race. Heading back along English Bay Watson gradually started to pull away, using his experience to run out the winner in 1:06:57. Hooton didn’t let up, and should be pleased with his 1:07:34 debut.
Triathlon professional Jeff Symonds was a distant third in 1:09:55. With top master Jerry Ziak in fourth in 1:11:26. Nic Browne was the final prize money winner in 1:11:53, not far ahead of the womens winner.
A couple of other record breakers finished together further down the field. Elizabeth Waywell shattered the Canadian F6064 record by over four minutes, running 1:31:02. A stride ahead of her, Jim Swadling just missed out on the BC M7074 record, and had to be satisfied with a new event age group record of 1:31:01.
Proceeds from the event supported Variety, The Children’s Charity, with a cheque for $40,000 being presented.
Complete results at https://www.startlinetiming.com/en/races/2018/fhhm
The next race in the 2018 BC Super Series is the BMO St Patrick’s Day 5K on Saturday, March 17 in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The race also serves at the BC 5K Championship.
The BC Super Series is a collaboration between BC Athletics and 12 of BC's best road races, which bring the best athletes in BC together in competition, and encourage participation from all abilities.